The Amazing Spider-Man
Spidey has a new video game adventure that runs out of web fluid at times.
July 11, 2012 10:01 amJames Fay
Version tested: Xbox 360
Video games based on movies have largely been unsuccessful; this is a fact. But there are a few exceptions, Spider-Man 2 being one of them. However, this Spidey flick tie-in is not an exception. While it is nice to get back to free world web swinging through New York City that isn’t enough anymore, and this game doesn't do much to build on it.
First of all, the story is set after the events of the movie. But it came out a week before the movie. If you think this is an issue, you’re right. By now the movie is out and many people who plan on playing this game will likely enjoy the story of the second game. However, as someone who beat the game prior to the film's release I was not as big a fan. Being a fan of Spider-Man I knew plenty about the movie/general storyline and most of the time wasn’t too upset with the kind of information the story was giving away. It was all stuff you would already have assumed or guessed. But at least once or twice they randomly and unnecessarily drop a bomb of a line that has a specific movie moment attached. While it was fairly annoying to me, I can only imagine how this story would seem from the perspective of someone who had seen the movie: it takes place a few months after the movie, and seemingly tries to take advantage of the direction the movie is taking this universe, but it lacked so much detail.
Before I nerd-rant much longer let me get more into the other aspects of this game. The first problem I had was the voice acting: No one from the movie voiced their video game counterparts. This makes it hard to feel like the same characters and universe as the movies. And while these voice actors may be talented, they are not the same as their big screen equivalents. The dialog itself was often not that great, though I will say the overall story was overall solid despite aforementioned detail issues. It felt like the developers simply wanted to avoid the issue of taking the movie and awkwardly adding more villains and so they came up with a great idea and quickly put it together without much care.
Maybe I’m being overcritical here; let’s move on to gameplay.
Web swinging is back, and it is as fun as ever. The addition of "web rush", which is like a bullet-time where you can look for a location for Spidey to acrobatically make his way to, makes for some fun visuals. However, these visuals can get stale fairly quickly and the more I used it the more I felt like it was a way to show the grace and coolness of Spider-Man…but I wasn’t doing it. There is still awesome free roaming web swinging, only it seems a little toned down. Some of the little things previous installments had (like being able to speed up mid-swing) are often missed as your web options are limited to regular swinging, rising while swinging, or wall running. Wall running is admittedly cool, but the rest of the time you're just swinging or free falling (a lot) and there are so few flips and moves he does it run dry pretty quick. I still enjoyed web swinging, and looking back, it was easily one of my favorite parts of the game.
After web swinging comes brawling. This installment takes the approach of the recent Batman games and goes with a combo fighting system along with a dodge button and plenty of moves to unlock and upgrade. Fighting is usually pretty fun, and when you get into a real groove it feels awesome. While the game is fairly easy I found it awkwardly hard at times to keep combos going to often running into groups of enemies with multiple ranged attackers. It is pretty hard to aim webbing to jam any ranged attacks, and with melee enemies charging while ranged enemies fire it can lead to some random deaths along the way. Several other random death issues popped up occasionally, which is surprising since the game is usually very easy.
There are plenty of side missions to occupy your time and half involve general web swinging or more advanced web swinging while the other half is more focused on fighting. A pretty typical mix and one that works out well.
While The Amazing Spider-Man is a pretty solid game it falls into a few major pitfalls; the boss battles tend to only have slight variations, making it far too repetitive and lacking in any real innovation for a character who appears in a game just about every year, and it doesn't really put enough focus on the story aspect (great idea, poor execution/details).
The biggest issue I had with this game though, is that it made the mistake of thinking the players would like a level completely different from the rest of the game.
(SPOILERS) One level late in the game has Spidey trying to navigate a level without any of his powers! Why would anyone want to play a Spider-Man game in which you can’t web swing, wall crawl, or fight? The level became a platformer, and a poorly designed one that has a character who suddenly has different physics that completely throw off the player and clearly didn’t get enough polish in development.
I liked playing this game when I could choose what to do, but there were too many times in the story where I simply was not enjoying myself.
The Amazing Spider-Man is an intriguing sequel story to the movie that lacks in execution and detail. The voices aren't the same as the movie and that kept bothering me. Web swinging is as fun as usual and there are plenty of moves to fight enemies with…however almost none of it is new (but "web rush" can be cool). The game doesn’t really look that great and I didn’t see much difference from past Spidey games. The game also breaks some cardinal rules of game making and the overall experience suffers for it. Plenty of the game is entertaining, but just as much can be boring or annoying. Many players will be better off renting Spider-Man 2; it’s practically the same game.
No better than any Spidey game from the past.
Effects are all right, voice acting not as much.
Plenty of fun to be had, though most of it is recycled.
I have no desire to replay this game, but the side missions are worth revisiting for completionists.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10